In order to work towards an inclusive community where all belong, individuals need to be well-versed on the key principles and definitions pertaining to inclusion, diversity, belonging, equity, and access/accessibility (IDBEA) work. Below are some of the principles and definitions.
NYU Definition: The degree to which diversity is embedded, integrated, and involved.
Inclusion is an active process in which diversity is viewed as an important resource, and where we value ourselves and others because of and not despite our differences (or similarities). In an inclusive system, everyone — across multiple types of differences — should be empowered as a full participant and contributor who feels and is connected to the larger collective without having to give up individual uniqueness, cherished identities, or vital qualities. This is achieved through a combination of individual behaviors and attitudes, group norms, leadership approaches, and organizational policies and practices (Ferdman, 2014; Ferdman, 2017).
NYU Definition: Diversity is demography and often representational. It is a complex interplay of social identities and issues.
Diversity refers to differences between people, with distinctions in categories being made based on a number of salient characteristics that influence the identity and the way of life of that person (van Ewijk, 2011). Frequently used demographic categories include gender, race, language, age, religion, disability, and socioeconomic status, although this list is by no means exhaustive. Furthermore, each individual is a unique blend of identities, cultures, and experiences, which shape the way that this person thinks and brings their thoughts to the table, an aspect of diversity sometimes referred to as diversity of thought (Nguyen-Phuong-Mai, 2017).
NYU Definition: Operationalized when individuals are considered part of the constitutional foundation of an organization or institution. Belonging is achieved when individuals have the ability to critique and hold an institution responsible for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Belonging generally refers to a feeling or sensation of connectedness, and the experience of mattering or feeling cared about, accepted, respected, valued by, and integral to a group such as the campus community (Asher & Weeks, 2014; Strayhorn, 2019). A sense of belonging is important for all, but those from nondominant groups may particularly feel a sense of nonbelonging, and belonging is contextual: one may feel that they belong in one situation and not in another (Cook-Sather & Felten, 2017).
NYU Definition: Fairness and parity in distribution of resources based on historical and contemporary differentials that mitigate participation in society.
Equity can be thought of through the lens of fairness and social justice, with the recognition of structural factors that disadvantage and marginalize certain groups (Vargas-Tamex, 2019). Equity differs from equality in that it takes into account pre-existing inequality to ensure fairness. When one recipient or group has historically received fewer resources or opportunities than another, for example, a strictly equal allocation merely perpetuates the status quo (Rizzo & Killen, 2016).
NYU Definition: Providing equal opportunity, participation, accommodations, and services for community members of all abilities.
NYU Definition: Is the coerced hiding of crucial aspects of one’s self.
NYU Definition: Also known as implicit social cognition, implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.
These biases, reside deep in the subconsciousness and encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.
NYU Definition: The subtle ways in which verbal and nonverbal language convey oppressive ideology about power or privilege against marginalized identities.
NYU Definition: Is the all-encompassing system of discrimination and exclusion of people with disabilities.
NYU Definition: A pervasive system of advantage and disadvantage based on the socially constructed category of race.
Racism is enacted on multiple levels simultaneously: Institutional, cultural, interpersonal, and individual. Institutional structures, policies, and practices interlock with cultural assumptions about what is right and proper to justify racism. Individuals internalize and enact these assumptions through individual behavior and institutional participation. Woven together, these interactions create and sustain systemic benefits for whites as a group, and structure discrimination, oppression, dispossession, and exclusion for people from targeted racial groups.” (Bell, L.A., Funk, M.S., Khyati, J.Y., and Valvidia, M. (2016)
More principles and definitions can be found on the NYU Office of Global Inclusion and Diversity’s page. However, due to the nature of how language operates, particularly around these concepts, many of these terms are dynamic and evolve based on global context.